Asia
Commentary

The US-Japan Alliance after 3/11

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On May 6, 2011 the Stimson Center hosted the Multi-Partisan Delegation for the Fortification of the Post-3/11 Japan-US Alliance, comprised of Hon. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Hon. Mikio Shimoji, and Hon. Tomoko Abe.  The event featured a keynote address by Hon. Shiozaki.

The day opened with introductory remarks by Ambassador Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Stimson’s Chairman of the Board.  Ambassador Bloomfield proposed that while the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake continues to present both the Japanese government and its people a formidable challenge, the tragedy was also an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the US-Japan alliance.  Ambassador Bloomfield shared his confidence that the United States, as Japan’s ally, will work closely with Japan as it tackles the formidable challenges of recovery and reconstruction in the years to come.   

Honorable Yasuhisa Shiozaki, who formerly served as the Chief Cabinet Secretary for the Abe administration, delivered a keynote speech.  In it he stressed the importance of (1) revising the mission of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to enable them to protect critical infrastructure, including nuclear power plants, (2) establishing a parliamentary investigatory committee that will look into the “lessons learned” from the accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, and (3) creating a more transparent oversight system for managing the operation of nuclear power plants.  He also stressed the importance of deepening military-to-military relations between the US and Japan, reiterating the enduring importance of the US-Japan alliance.  He also emphasized that there is an urgent need for Japan to establish a crisis management system in which timely decisions can be made by the prime minister. 

Honorable Richard L. Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State, offered his remarks in which he shared his sense of confidence in the resilience of the Japanese people to overcome the triple disasters on March 11 – the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.  He also suggested that the United States did exactly what it was supposed to do as an ally – helping a friend that is in trouble and in need of help.  He stressed that not only the United States but also the world needs a strong and vibrant Japan, and believed that Japan would come out of this challenge better and stronger. 

A wide-ranging question and answer session followed the remarks.  The issues that were raised included Japan’s disaster response and future trajectory of its defense force, as well as issues such as military basing in Okinawa and prospects for Japan’s national security institutional reform.

 

 

 

 

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